Chevron to sign Brazil oil-spill accord, may end lawsuits -gov't
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 13
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Chevron Corp, the No. 2 U.S. oil company, will sign an accord on Friday that could lead to the cancellation of civil lawsuits seeking $17.5 billion in damages over a November 2011 oil spill, Brazil's public prosecutor's office said in a statement.
The adjustment of conduct accord that has been under negotiation with San Ramon, California-based Chevron for nearly a year is expected to include about 300 million reais ($132 million) in compensatory actions for the spill, which leaked 3,600 barrels into the ocean northeast of Rio de Janeiro.
"With the signature of the accord, which commits Chevron to unprecedented measures to prevent new incidents and compensations for the spill in the Frade Field, the two lawsuits could be resolved," the prosecutor's office said.
The lawsuits are the largest environmental action in Brazilian history. The spill did no discernable ecological damage, never came close to Brazil's coast and injured no one, the country's petroleum regulator said in a 2012 report.
Criminal charges were dropped in February.
Chevron executives were not immediately available for comment.
Transocean Ltd, which was Chevron's drilling contractor at Frade at the time of the spill, is also a respondent in the lawsuits but is not involved in the accord settlement. Chevron said in late 2012 that it would take full responsibility for the accident. If the lawsuits are dismissed, Transocean will also be freed from the potential penalties.
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